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Nanomaterials for Energy Conversion  


As a new class of materials, nanostructures exhibit unique properties and find applications in many fields, including chemistry, physics, electronics and biology. The nanoscale dimension, for example, coincides with the characteristic length scale of charge diffusion in solids, rendering nanomaterials a promising candidate to understand charge behavior. The understanding will then allow for controlling charges for targeted applications such as efficient photon-to-charge conversion.

At Boston College, we are committed to understanding the science that governs the synthesis of nanostructures and how the resulting materials’ morphology and crystal structure influence their physical, particularly the electrical, properties. Through these studies, we hope to develop methodologies that will enable us to create nanostructures by design. These materials will act as active components in devices operating at near the theoretical limit efficiencies in harvesting solar energy.

Ongoing projects in our lab can be categorized by the nanostructure morphologies we seek to make — aligned nanowires and webbed nanowires. The aligned arrangement permits maximum photon-absorption and charge separation, ideal for photovoltaics. Webbed nanowires, on the other hand, make it possible to achieve superior charge transport without losing the high surface-to-volume ratios, ideal for photosynthesis to produce solar fuels.

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    Last updated, June. 2015